Idrija Žlikrofi

14 Feb 2020
Often described as a ravioli-type dish, Idrija's famous žlikrofi dumplings were the first Slovene dish to receive recognition and protection under the EU's Traditional Speciality Guaranteed label, which took place in 2010, some eight years after it had been granted traditional product status domestically by the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture.

While the comparison to Italian ravioli is not completely unfounded, as žlikrofi are essentially stuffed pasta dumplings that are boiled - indeed even we had long assumed this relation before we first tried them ourselves - they are a completely unique culinary speciality. And in fact, they are thought to have first come to Idrija by way of a German mining family sometime early in the 19th century, as the name bears some resemblance to the German word 'schlichtkrapfen' or 'slippery dumpling'. Although the exact origins are still, and will likely remain, unclear, as a matter of historical record they had already become well-known in Idrija by the mid-19th century. Regardless of where they came from, the end result is tasty, or at least has been every time we've had them.

The filling consists of mashed potatoes mixed with smoked bacon (or fried lard), onions and various seasonings and herbs, which is then wrapped in homemade egg-flour dough and formed into something of a hat shape. But what really makes žlikrofi special are the sauces that accompany them, with mutton or rabbit with vegetables (bakalca) being the most common, and local restaurants usually having at least a half dozen options and some offering a dozen or more, including sweet dessert versions that are filled with minced walnuts. As the locals say: if you haven't tried žlikrofi, then you haven't been to Idrija!


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